“My goal in life is to embody black empowerment. I had an interesting experience in Ferguson, Missouri a couple of years ago when everything was happening after Michael Brown was killed. At first, we were watching everything on TV. And then I thought, wow, this is happening right in my face. And you know how you always see those movies with Martin Luther King, and you think about what you would have done at that time? I thought about that, then I borrowed my mom’s car and told her I was going to my friend’s house. She had no idea I was going to Ferguson. I went and picked up my cousin. We rode out to Ferguson. At first, the protests were live, so much good energy. It was a fun experience initially. But things started to get a little rowdy as the night fell. As we moved around a few buildings, there were a few troopers who had rubber-bullet guns, and there was a man who was standing next to us. One of the troopers shot him with a rubber bullet. And when he was shot, he didn’t know what was going on. He was lost. He was disoriented. So me and my cousin, two teenage girls, carried this man all the way back to his apartment. It was unbelievable.

And, there was so much more that happened that night. But, that experience was the reason I started my marketing company, Synigence. Synigence is targeted towards small businesses. But underneath all of that, my goal is to help propel black businesses by bringing innovative marketing to these business. I just want to help my community through economic development.

I get that from my mother, the first female mayor of East St. Louis. She was a council woman, and also an educator. She was my mentor and role model. I saw a woman who loves her community and figured out different ways to help it. 

Jackson State has helped me with this because they gave me a full ride scholarship. With my scholarship, I was able to solely focus on school. And with the gaps of time that I had, instead of partying all the time, I started to think about what I could do with the free time I had between classes. Then I remembered something Bill Gates said. He said, ‘If you’re going to start a business, you should start it while in college.’ So, that’s what I did.”

– Karmeen, junior computer science major from East St Louis, Illinois.